Library Reference Section: The Role-Playing Game

(Or, Am I the Only One Who's Ever Listed a GURPS Sourcebook in a University Paper Bibliography?)

Yes, I've done that. Specifically, used Viking proverbs pulled from GURPS Vikings for an essay on Beowulf. Just an epigram, but I was forced to put a role-playing supplement as a reference.

Now, I wouldn't advise students to use GURPS books (or other well-written historical RPG books) as legitimate sources of information. Wiki is probably more reliable (but far less referenceable). After all, they're necessarily more skewed towards creating a world to play in than facts, dates and figures. However, they're great for the little details you wouldn't get in your standard history text. What people ate, how they named their children, and just how much damage a glaive-guisarme might do.

My 5 Favorite University Paper-Enabled RPG books
GURPS Vikings
Taint of Madness for Call of Cthulhu (it's Psychology 101 with 1930s asylum methods!)
GURPS Imperial Rome
Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore
GURPS Celtic Myth



Anonymous said...

I think I very well might have cited a GURPS sourcebook as a reference once, but I can't recall what book or when (or, quite possibly, whether I chickened out of it.)

However, I definitely *did* cite the instruction manual for the first version of Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon for an Economic History paper. That manual actually had a lot of good historical background, quite a difference from today, where you're lucky if the user guide even gives you the rudiments of how to play the game at its most basic, let alone "supporting material."

Siskoid said...

Oh I know what you mean! Today's game manuals are just screenshots are not much else.

I think using Railroad Tycoon definitely counts though!

Bill D. said...

I always thought the Camelot book was a pretty interesting piece of work, providing three different takes on Arthurian stuff - historical, legend, and cinematic - and giving nice, succinct breakdowns on each. Maybe not citation-worthy, but it was certainly interesting reading.


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